Microsoft chief tells agencies to look overseas for e-gov ideas

SEATTLE--Federal officials should look to their counterparts overseas for inspiration in advancing the cause of electronic government, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday. E-government is "one of the few areas where you can't say that any one country is out ahead of other countries," said Gates. The United States has led the movement towards e-commerce, he said, but has not differentiated itself significantly from other nations when it comes to e-government. Gates spoke to a crowd of more than 400 government officials from around the world gathered for the fourth annual Microsoft Government Leaders' Conference. In his speech, Gates described the evolution of e-government over the past decade, from establishing a basic online presence to enabling online transactions, using digital certificates and developing smart card applications. An increased need for security and authentication technology has marked the progress of the late 1990s, Gates said. Gates said Microsoft hopes to help agencies move to the next level of e-government with its new .NET series of software products. The .NET products are based on the extensible markup language (XML), the Internet language that allows information to be shared by disparate organizations and ultimately interpreted into one common format. British representative Andrew Pinder spoke at the conference on the United Kingdom's mandate to have 100 percent of its government services online by 2005. The centerpiece of that effort is UK Gateway, a Web portal that will allow citizens and businesses to conduct all official transactions online. The goal of making all government services digital in the next four years is an ambitious one by world standards, but Pinder predicted Britain would hit its target. In the United Kingdom today, he said, 57 percent of the population of 60 million people have access to the Internet, and 98 percent of the country's 3 million businesses are connected. Pinder said the British government needed a way not only to place its transactions on the Web, but to provide a heightened level of security while transmitting critical and sensitive information. UK Gateway provides that information assurance, he said, by allowing citizens to operate on the site with digital certificates that validate their identity. The UK Gateway currently allows users to file end-of-year employee withholding taxes and apply for farmer subsidies. Individuals and businesses use the site as a central point that links together all government transactions and provides single password access.

Pinder said that the ability to provide authentication of users and translate information reliably from all agencies is what distinguishes UK Gateway from other portal-type Web sites in governments around the world, including the U.S. government's FirstGov site.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.